Thursday, July 30, 2015

Poll: What kinds of posts would you like to see?

When I started this blog, I posted about a wider variety of different things. All with a shopping and saving focus, but I wrote about clothes, household products, sometimes food, whatever. Gradually over time I have drifted to posting almost exclusively about beauty products (makeup, skin care, and hair care). But sometimes I think of other things I might write about, like t-shirts, or candles, or tea, or books. Would people be interested in reading posts like that again, or would they be boring to you or seem out of place?

NB: I am not talking about sponsored posts. I've never been approached to write one of those, and I doubt I ever will be. I'm not sure what could entice me to include sponsored posts on my blog. It would have to be a really interesting product and an agreement with the flexibility for me to be completely honest about what I think. So that's unlikely.

If you wouldn't mind filing out the poll, I'd appreciate it. I'm interested in seeing what people think. I want to write what comes naturally to me, but I also don't want to actually drive people away, because I have fun interacting with people here. And of course feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions!


Would you like to see more non-beauty posts on Cheap as F*ck?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Unintentional Project Pan

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from which I may earn a commission.

I guess you could call this being in a makeup rut, but I am going with unintentional project pan. That sounds more noble and interesting, doesn't it?

In case you're not familiar with the concept of "project pan," it's when people challenge themselves to use up enough of a makeup product (or multiple products) to "hit pan" - i.e. to reach the metal pan in the bottom of the product. I haven't been able to figure out where it originated, whether it was a specific blogger or in a community like Makeup Alley. Can anyone clue me in?

In my case, I realized this month that I was using the same handful of products day after day, though I hadn't chosen them deliberately to reach any particular goals. Some are things that I've vaguely thought I should try to use up, but I didn't vow to eschew all other makeup or anything. Most likely the reason I've been sticking with these few options is that I've been working from home, and most days I barely bother to wear makeup at all. When I do, I just grab a few things that I know are easy and effective, and that's that. I'm sure I will snap out of my rut project pan before too long, especially when I go back to working in an office (by the way, I finally got a job - temporary, but still a relief!). For now, these things are working for me, and I'm not sick of them yet, so I'm just going to go with it. Every now and then I put on a different lip color or blush, but for the most part it's been the things pictured here.

Here are the products in my unintentional project pan, listed clockwise from top left:

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara (sample)

I'm going to take a photo of this mascara on my lashes soon as an example of something I really like. It's light and fluffy and adds volume and length. It works well for me. This is the second mini-tube of this I've had, both of which came from subscription boxes. Sephora sells this "travel size" for $12, though, if you want to try it for a smaller price. Still more than a full size, good, drugstore mascara, though, and I'm not convinced it's that much better.

The Balm Stainiac

I should really write a dedicated review of this stuff, since I've been using it for years, and I love it. Since my lips are fairly dark/pink naturally, it nicely enhances the color while still looking natural. I don't really use it on my cheeks, because I find liquid blushes difficult to blend evenly (though this is more of a thin gel than a liquid).

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze

I've had this for ages and only recently (when I posted it on Instagram) remembered how much I like it. It's easy to use, since I just apply it with my fingers, and the shimmer makes it look multidimensional when blended from lashline into the crease. Some days I use Barely Branded (photos here) instead, for a more subtle look. If I'm going to be going out anywhere, I will use primer under Color Tattoos, but if I think I am going to be sitting home most of the day, I won't bother. Here are some primers I've tried recently.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Fearless (sample)

I've used this card sample at least 30 times and there's still some left. That goes to show you how incredibly long it would take to finish a full size blush. Has anyone ever done it? Tarte calls Fearless "pink coral," but I would has thought of it as more of a bubblegum pink. Maybe a tiny bit warmer than than, but not much. In fact, I thought it would look weirdly fake on me, but it's actually very natural and flattering. I don't know about the 12-hour claim. I never remember to check my blush at the end of the day to see if it's still there. I don't many (if any) completely matte powder blushes, which is why I've been drawn to this sample, I think. I might have to replace it with something similar when it's gone.

Avon Ultra Luxury Brow Liner in Blonde

Of the many, many eyebrow products I've tried (most of which are swatched and reviewed here), this is the one that I've found the easiest and quickest to use, and the most natural looking on me, regardless of my hair color. Even though my hair is medium brown right now, this works perfectly. Magic. (Look at the stub of the last pencil I used up. Aren't you impressed?)

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles in Fair

Almost empty! Mini review here. I like that it doesn't crease much, but since the color isn't quite right, I don't know if I will buy it again.

e.l.f. Tone Correcting Powder in Cool

Reviewed here. I use this to set the concealer and just generally all over my face. This stuff mattifies, but the effects don't last long in the summer, so I prefer to use something else if I'm actually going to be out in the sweaty summer world.

That's it! I expect I will be finishing a few of these before the end of the summer, so that will be a fun side effect of my unintentional project. Then I will have to think of what else I want to fixate on.

(Note: I'm playing around with using ShopStyle affiliate links, since it gives me more options than just using Amazon's. I can pick out the cheapest place to buy things, for instance - though that is often still Amazon. Let me know if there are any technical glitches if you end up clicking any of the links.)

Monday, July 20, 2015


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission from purchases made through those links.
When I started to write this post, I was tempted to use a clickbaity/XOJane style headline like, "I use forbidden spray sunscreen and I don't feel bad about it! Here's why." You know, because I am such a rebel. But that seemed to obnoxious even to me, and instead I went for this not-at-all played out hashtag title.

Kinesys Performance SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray
Kinesys Performance SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray
I've seen articles all over the place recently about why spray sunscreens are The Worst. Beautiful With Brains posted an excellent explanation of why these things should be avoided last year, and I strongly recommend you read it. I agree with her on every point. And yet my everyday sunscreen is a spray, and I have no plans to stop using it. Here's why (ahem):

I use Kinesys SPF 30 spray sunscreen, which is a clear, alcohol-free, broad spectrum sunscreen. It's a chemical sunscreen that contains octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, and avobenzone. I avoid mineral sunscreens because they tend to break me out.

Despite its being packaged in a spray bottle, I never apply it by spraying directly on my skin. That's because I only use this on my face. I use cheaper lotion sunscreens on my body, since I'm much less picky about what things feel like when they're not going to be near my eyes. My biggest problem with the vast majority of facial sunscreens is that they inevitably migrate into my eyes and burn like a bitch. This stuff is one of the few that I have found (and I've tried many) that almost never does that. It also plays really well with makeup. In fact, I find that it works even better under makeup than on its own, because most foundations and powders help to set the sunscreen and ensure that it really, really, doesn't smear.

Some sunscreens that are SPF 30 or higher also cause an unpleasant burning sensation on the sensitive skin around my eyes, even when they stay put. This one doesn't, so I can apply it directly to my eyelids, which obviously need as much protection from the sun as the rest of my face.

Just because it comes in a spray bottle doesn't mean you have to apply it by spritzing yourself. If you think about it, with a product as thin as this, there are limited types of dispensers that will work well. It could come with a dropper or a really small opening at the top, I suppose, but a spray nozzle works just fine. I squirt the sunscreen directly in the palm of my hand (multiple times) and then apply it to my face just like I would do with a lotion. It's easy to control how much I apply and how evenly I apply it when I do it that way. If you hold the nozzle less than an inch from your hand, you can avoid any mess at all, and there's no risk that you will inhale the stuff, which is one of the potential hazards of spray sunscreens in general.

Here's what it looks like:

This Kinesys sunscreen also doesn't contain alcohol like many of the other dreaded spray sunscreens, nor does it come in a wasteful aerosol can.

The best testimonial I can give you for this sunscreen comes from my boyfriend who, like many men our age, never bothered to wear sunscreen for most of his life. I know that this is a generalization, and #notallmen, but in my experience, dudes tend to be much more picky about the texture of products they put on their skin and especially on their faces. That may be because they haven't been told their whole lives that they will be more successful at performing their gender if they smear various things on their faces every day. One of the reasons my partner avoided sunscreen is because it usually feels greasy and unpleasant to him. I finally convinced him to try this stuff, and he commented with a look of shock: "I can't feel it at all! It's like there's nothing on my face." So there you have it.

Of course, that meant I had to give him my spare bottle of expensive sunscreen for the good of his health, but I guess it's worth it. Sigh. I use this on my face every day, and a bottle lasts me about a year. I still have half my current bottle left, so I won't have to restock for a while.

Anyway, there's my annual plug for this sunscreen, in case you are someone who has also had a hard time finding a comfortable facial sunscreen. This Kinesys spray might not seem like an obvious choice, but it works wonderfully for me. If you can tolerate chemical sunscreens, and you haven't found one that you love yet, I encourage you to try this one. I haven't seen it in stores, but you can get it for $14 on Amazon right now, which is the cheapest price I've found (when I bought this bottle it was $18 so, as always, shop around).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amazon Prime Day update: $25 Sephora gift card for $20

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission from purchases made through those links.
Okay, here's an update. This deal won't appear until 1 pm EST, so I don't know for sure what the discount will be yet - but the Lane Bryant $25 card is on sale for $20, so that's my guess. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on if you want to be ready to pounce, since Sephora discounts are pretty rare. 20% off isn't spectacular, but it's something.

ETA: It is indeed $20 (20% off). Click "View lightning deal" to get the sale price.

Butter London 50% off + free shipping (and other beauty deals at Macy's)

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.
Okay, I'm just going to make this the day that I spam my blog with sales. It's not what I usually do, but it's what I'm doing today. I blame you, Amazon. Macy's has a big beauty sale going on, and among other things, BL polishes are $7.50. And everything has free shipping, apparently. Check it all out here.

Ebates also has an extra 8% cash back for Macy's, so your best bet is to shop through their link. There's no downside. (More info about Ebates here.)

Too Faced 50-75% off on HauteLook

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.
Speaking of deals: Too Faced is on HauteLook for the next three days, which is interesting, since they don't show up there very often. There's all sorts of stuff, including eyeshadow palettes, an eyebrow kit, blushes, and foundations. I don't tend to buy things from this brand, because the cutesy packaging turns me off, but I know that they make some quality stuff. Are you going to get anything?

On Friday, there's also going to be a Nordstrom Beauty Bag for sale on HL, so you might want to wait and combine orders. Of course, then you take your chances that what you wanted from Too Faced will be sold out.

35% off one item in Beauty and Grooming for Amazon Prime Day

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission from purchases made through those links.
I haven't seen many good beauty deals for Amazon Prime Day (ugh is this a branded shopping holiday now?), but you can get 35% one item from this page, so if there's something you're after, that's a decent discount. Use code NEWBEAUTY.

I might use it on The Balm's tinted moisturizer, which I've had my eye on for a while.

Have you picked up anything good today?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Empties, empties, empties

I'm keeping track of what I've finished so I can remember whether it's worth ever using again. Plus, posts like this give me more motivation to use what I have instead of buying anything new - though I haven't bought much of anything in the last few months, other than the couple of things I've written about. That must mean it's working (?).

These particular photos were taken in mid-June, so I'm a bit behind in posting them, I guess. That's really besides the point, in my opinion. It's not meant to be a real-time diary.

I've been collecting all these bottles for months now, and since not all of this stuff can be recycled by my municipal program, my plan is to request a label from TerraCycle and send it in there (other than the foil packets, of course). Has anyone else done that?

As always, foils and shampoo/conditioner don't get comments unless there's something remarkable about them.


Paula's Choice foundation samples: I wasn't super impressed with any of these. Swatched and reviewed here.

Milani Brow Tint Pen: It finally dried up. Decent product, especially for tinting light brow hairs (rather than filling in sparse patches). Swatched and reviewed here.

Joe Fresh Lip Stain in Tangerine: I'm pretty sure that these have been discontinued. I bought it on sale at Superstore when I was visiting my family in Canada a couple of years ago. I was planning to include it in my original quest for coral post, but I found that it had dried up. No big loss - it barely showed up on my lips anyway.

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara: This was a serviceable mascara, but I don't know that there was anything particularly bold about it. It made my eyelashes darker, a little thicker, and a little longer. It didn't smear or flake too badly. That's about the minimum I can ask in a mascara. The main problem I had with it was that when I pulled the brush out of the tube, it always had huge globs of mascara all over it, so to use it I had to wipe it off on a kleenex every time. That's too much of a hassle (and a waste). I've never been wowed by a Revlon mascara, and generally people don't seem to talk much about their mascaras. Not the strong suit of the brand, I think.

Make Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara: This was part of last year's Sephora birthday gift (I'm really looking forward to picking up this year's next month: Nars lip crayons!). I actually really liked the formula of the mascara. It made my lashes look great. But the brush was not a good fit for my eyes. It's shaped like a pine tree: pointy on the end and huge at the bottom. I couldn't get the lashes at the corners of my eyes with either end of the brush without making a mess. I think you have to have big eyes and lashes to make this work properly.

(Cut in case you're not into the empties thing and want to scroll on past - this is going to get long.)